Daily Update: Dive 3531
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Overcast, Occasional Rain
9 deg 50 N
Longitude: 104 deg 17W
Wind Direction: NE
Wind Speed: 12 Knots
Height: 9 Feet
Temperature: 82°F (27.8°C)
Pressure: 1013.5 MB
Visibility: 12 Nautical Miles
French dip sandwiches
Fruit and Jell-O
Cruise #2 t-shirt design by
E. Paul Oberlander.
February 6, 2000
By Dr. Dan Fornari and Sam Dean
Alvin rolled out of the hangar this morning
for its last dive of this cruise under a brooding sky with dark
clouds. Although we saw our first rainfall last night, it was
definitely not going to be our last! We would see light to moderate
rain falling throughout the day. Along with this inclement weather
also came an increase in the sea state and wind, up to 22 knots!
The crew of the Alvin and the Atlantis showed off
their skill, though, as they launched the submersible just as
efficiently as they do every day. Alvin, with pilot Pat
Hickey and observers Dan Stuermer and Louis Cabot, headed back
to the hydrothermal vent fields of the Bio-Geo Transect at 9
degrees 50 N to take water samples, sulfide and biological
samples for genetic studies, take digital photographs, and make
Before the dive, the plywood painting of Dave Olds was given
the finishing touches and mounted on Alvins basket
for the ride down to the seafloor.
Daves plywood image will keep some hydrothermal vents
and animals company, and will remind all future visitors of the
great contributions he has made to the Alvin program and helping
scientists get their data from the seafloor.
The end of a cruise usually marks a time when cruise
T-shirts are designed and made. The crew and science party were
excited as the news about the cruise logo and T-shirt design
that Paul Oberlander had made spread around the ship. Paul started
making T-shirts with his design for each person on the ship.
Check out the image below for a sneak preview of the logo for
cruise #2 - you may get to see it before some of people on the Atlantis do!
The Towed Camera Sled rose from the deep again this morning at
0215 hours. The Night Owl Crew washed it down, started downloading
pictures and then went to bed to try to return to a daytime schedule.
After they got up around lunchtime, they started taking the sled
apart and storing all of the components so they can be used again
in the future. Margo, Greg, Del, and Jenny are all thrilled - the
Sled collected over 13, 000 high-resolution images of the ocean
floor during the eight camera tows.
The Alvin crew also had a slightly different recovery procedure today,
too. Immediately after Alvin was pulled up from the choppy seas and set
down on the deck at 1345 hours, the crew began to remove the outer panels, or skins as
they call them, and scrub it down thoroughly with soapy fresh water in order
to rinse off all the saltwater. Saltwater is extremely damaging to all of the
metal pieces and parts of the mechanical and electrical systems on the sub and
cant be left on any of the equipment.
Whenever the sub is not diving for an extended period of time, like the next
6 weeks when it and Atlantis will be in San Diego, California for routine
maintenance, the sub is thoroughly washed and all the systems are checked. A
routine battery servicing is also scheduled so the next group of scientists gets
as much time as possible on the seafloor to do their science. On this cruise
we got an average of better than 5 hours of bottom time and traveled over 7 kilometers
on nearly every dive.
As the work on the back deck was completed, and Alvin was snug in its
hanger, the ship began steaming north-northeast towards Manzanillo, Mexico. The
engineers were watching the one working thruster carefully and were pleased that
the ship was making about 9 knots even in the moderate seas.
On Bottom: 0930 hours
Off Bottom: 1215 hours
Maximum Depth: 2510 meters
The dive provided an opportunity to collect some hydrothermal fluid samples using
the gas-tight bottles from the Bio9 vent area. It turns out that these two vents
have been growing and falling over with some regularity. Bio9 Prime vent has
toppled over again, and it appears that the HOBO temperature logger that was
deployed in the vent last May is lost. Hopefully, the next Alvin cruise
that will come back to this site in April can track it down. Pat sampled a vent
only a few meters away from Bio9 Prime with the gas-tight bottle and got
a good sample of 381°C fluid. He must have gotten pretty close
to the hot stuff because we noticed that the starboard (right)
side of one of the sub's rear panels was burned a little by a black
smoker! The next vent Pat sampled is close to Bio9 Prime vent and
is the same one that Dave Olds plywood painting is leaning
up against. At this vent, Pat also took a sample of an active sulfide
chimney with Alvinellid worms on it for some geochemical and genetic
analysis by Prof. Rachel Haymon at the University of California-Santa
The dive then traversed the seafloor down the middle of the Bio-Geo Transect
and took video images of the volcanic flows and hydrothermal vents. They ended
the dive near TY vent where they collected a lava pillar and mussels that were
growing near the margin of the axial trough. The mussels included all sizes from
big ones that are over 8 centimeters long to little babies that are only about
50 millimeters long. Dan Fornari had lots of work to do after the samples came
up to prepare them for the different biologists, geochemists and geologists who
would be using them for their research.
The two observers on todays dive were both novices, so naturally they
had some wet surprises waiting for them when they climbed out of Alvin and greeted
people on the fantail. Lou got a ritual hosing down by the Alvin crew and Greg
Kurras. Dan Stuermer had the honor of having several buckets of iced seawater
poured over him. Both Lou and Dan were happy to get inducted into the deep sea
divers club! They had a terrific experience and collected some great samples.